Lisa's decades-long interest in and involvement with youth issues began when she was at Villanova University. While at Villanova, she worked as a juvenile probation officer and child advocate under then-Philadelphia District Attorney and future Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. In the ensuing years, Lisa helped start Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), a national network of 946 programs that recruit, train and support volunteers who represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in the courtroom and other settings; helped raise over $40 million while serving as Event Co-Chair for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) in NYC; started two of the first Education Foundations in Texas and New Jersey public schools; and worked with AT&T to bring the Internet to public schools.
Lisa’s other volunteer activities include work as a Visiting Nurse and Hospice Care Coordinator and as a Fundraiser for Charitable Events when she lived in Oxford, England, Pennsylvania, Texas, NYC, New Jersey, and now Middleburg, Virginia.
Armand James (Jim) Vella III, Founder & Co-President
Retired garment industry executive. Passionate about horses and all equestrian sports, especially thoroughbred racing. Provided initial, and continuing, financial support and business oversight for Golden Dreams.
Joe Fargis, Board Member
Joe is an international show jumping champion, including three Olympic medals as a member of the U.S. Equestrian Team. He won gold medals in Individual and Show Jumping at the 1984 Olympics and a silver medal in Team Jumping in the 1988 Games. In January 2013, Joe was awarded the Jimmy A. Williams Lifetime Achievement Trophy by the United States Equestrian Federation. Joe also serves on the Board of Directors of the Upperville Horse Show.
Erika A. Kelton, Board Member
Erika brings a long history of fundraising success for nonprofits in Washington, DC, and San Francisco to Golden Dreams' Board. She is a partner with Phillips & Cohen LLP, the nation’s largest and most successful law firm dedicated to representing whistleblowers in cases involving Medicare fraud and other types of fraud against the government and in matters concerning major tax law violations. Erika has represented whistleblowers in several high-profile cases that have stopped egregious fraudulent practices, protected public health and recovered billions for the federal government. Erika is the author of several articles about whistleblowers and fraud cases, including a column in the International Herald Tribune. She is a frequent speaker at conferences on those topics and has been quoted in publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times.
Erika holds a law degree from the University of California - Berkeley (Boalt Hall), where she was Articles Editor of the California Law Review. She lives in Middleburg, Virginia and Washington, DC with her 11-year-old daughter, Gemma, and three happy dogs, Lilah, Pippa and Elliot.